How to understand the Black Forest culture & the Schwabenländle


The beautiful south of Germany – Great mountains, great lakes, beautiful castles between huge wine hills and the great and famous Black Forest. And between all this: People with a strong believe in the place where they come from – The so-called Heimat. A word, which is hard to translate. It basically means the place where I belong, the place where I come from and the place I love and decided for – To be honest it means all of this and nothing. Heimat is something you define yourself.

Within four days and more then 22 hours of driving from Berlin to the Black Forest I got the chance to experience what Heimat means to the Schwäbisch people.

In former times the south of Germany including the Black Forest belonged to Bavaria.


Bavaria, the real Germany!

Bavaria, county of beauty and tradition!

Bavaria, the county of wired dialects and full of an attitude, which is very unlikely comprehensibly for someone, like me. Me, a northern German girl without any feeling for Heimat and the strong believe in change instead of tradition. After Second World War and the Nazis-regime Germany has a problem with national pride - which causes a loss of tradition in most parts of the country and probably also led to the “critical efficient German thinker”

But, as I said: In most parts of Germany – except the south, especially Bavaria.

Dirndl & Lederhosen, Weißwurscht & Weißbier, Oktoberfest, Flags, Music, Dances, Language - Bavaria preserves tradition and culture of German society.

I never liked it. In school the running gag was “Bavaria? Isn’t that where all the Nazis live?” – Well, my stupid thinking gladly got lost through my wonderful friend Sarah. I met her in Dublin where we were forced to speak English most of the time – Gladly, again.


Sarah is a Schwäbisch girl, which means she is from an area around the Black Forest in the county of Baden-Württemberg former Bavaria, speaking a huge dialect! Imagine the German language in a soft tone. Every harsh “ch” becomes an “sch”, and every word ends with “le”, in between always those phrases “Ja, halt”/”Ja, logo” in Bavaria well known as “Jor mei” (meaning as much as the American “like”), also “grad” which normally translated means “just” but does not mean anything in Schwäbisch – All of this is used ten times in one sentence. As a mother tongue German this sounds to me like “Schhhhhle! Ja, halt! Grad, schhhhhhhhle, halt!” wondering what I did wrong and this person is complaining about.

The funniest part for me was when the Schwäbisch people started to make fun of the Badenser dialect. As the name “Baden-Württemberg” already shows: Schwaben is close to Baden, an area with people having a minimal different accent and different behavior – I personally do not see any difference, but saying this I probably make every person from Schwaben or Baden hating me. Because one thing is for sure! They don’t like each other! If you ask why, you get the southern standard answer: “It always has been like this.” – Tradition. Something you are born into. My school-time-Nazi-jokes came back in mind. But something I did not know so far: Hate build on tradition is also something you can rely on and something which promise security. Defining yourself as different from others actually builds up your own identity and a secure group of people who are like you- It simply has “always been like this” and is not questionable. This absolutely against everything I ever believed in! But I take it for granted this time. In fact the “Hate” between Baden and Schwaben means having fun being annoyed by each other. – Nothing to take too serious - We talking about people who live peacefully with each other…they just do not like each other.


The Bavarian Birthday Party

However my friend Sarah loves all about her Heimat. On her 27th Birthday she decided to bring her love about tradition and Heimat to the next level and organized a Bavarian Birthday Party. Everyone was invited to dress up in Dirndl and Lederhosen. The location was her parents house in Waldachtal – Meaning the country-side of the Black Forest. It is a stunning landscape! But it also explains why it took me 11 hours driving there.

The music was only German music of cause – German music in the meaning of fun songs for drinking beer. The songs from Oktoberfest, Carnival or even the songs in the pubs at the Ballermann in Mallorca are all the same songs. The lyrics are about funny stereotypes mixed with a “good-mood-melody”.


For the food there was Weißwurst, of cause, with sweet mustard and Leberkäse. In Schwäbisch it would be: Weißwürschtle and Leberkäs’. Also there was Pretzels and Schwäbischer Potato-salad made by Sarahs mum - tasted absolutely delicious. In general all of this is very indigenous food with a super nice taste and easy to serve and eat on a party – By the way: In case ones is approved in “zuzeln”. The proper way of eating a Weißwurst is to “zuzel” which means to suck the sausage out of the skin. But whoever does not like to suck a sausage is also allowed to cut the Weißwurst out of the skin.

And as you see on the picture Schwaben are champions in creating everything around their food! Super nice taste and a guarantee that you are not hungry after dinner!